The Sports Centre Tent will remain in operation for another six years after the City of York Council granted an extension to existing planning permission today.
The decision came 24 hours after Sam Asfahani, the York Sport President, and Rob Wadsworth, the Sports Centre Manager, showed Council officials around the facility, Nouse has learnt.
Asfahani announced the news on his YUSU website blog this afternoon, confirming that all the university’s sports clubs who frequently use the Tent are guaranteed facilities for training and fixtures until at least 2016.
The blog post read: “I am pleased to announce that the sports tent has been granted a further 6 years on its planning permission. This is an outcome that we had expected and that we welcome, despite more pessimistic views from local and campus media.”
Asfahani did, however, warn that the student body must continue to exert pressure to ensure facilities on the Heslington West campus are maintained, rather than funds being exclusively committed to the Heslington East project.
He added: “Despite this result, the situation has highlighted a need for the university to not only look towards new construction on Hes East but also the continual development of Hes West. The significance of a 6 year extension is a clear sign that the university want to get the tent on the 4 year construction plan and then have time to get it built. We, not only as a athletic union, but as a whole community, must hold them to account, and ensure that the near future holds a new sports hall instead of our tent.”
Fears circulated that the £800,000 Tent facility, intended only to be a temporary structure when opened in 2005, could be closed after the Council recommended an application to extend the lease for another ten years be rejected.
Speaking to Nouse after the decision, Asfahani urged clubs to find their voices in lobbying the university to keep York’s sports scene vibrant and successful: “Although we were always confident in getting this result, the whole situation shows the need for our athletic union and our clubs to get more political and more adament in what we want and what we need from our university, something we can work on going forward this year.”
The Tent was widely used by sports clubs and organisations in the local community, as well as a significant proportion of the University’s 59 clubs.
“They [the Council offficials] raised valid concerns but were very understanding when we talked about its importance to students and the wider community,” added Asfahani.
He also pledged to continue driving forward campaigns to build a swimming pool on Heslington East and a 3G pitch behind the Heslington West sports centre.